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Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press
Washington Nationals' Adam LaRoche, right, is congratulated by Ryan Zimmerman after hitting a two-run home run against the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning of a baseball game in San Diego, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

SAN DIEGO — Stephen Strasburg pitched a career-high eight innings against his hometown Padres, and Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche homered to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-2 victory against San Diego on Thursday night.

Strasburg's 54th big league start was his first professional appearance at Petco Park. The big right-hander went to high school in suburban Santee and pitched for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at San Diego State before the Nationals took him with the first overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He pitched twice at Petco Park for SDSU.

He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits while striking out four and walking three. He got the final out of the eighth on his 117th pitch.

Strasburg (2-5) had gone seven innings 10 times, including three this year.